Targeting excessive police force and bringing new economic development to the 29th Ward are just a few issues candidate La Coulton J. Walls plans to improve if he is elected as the ward’s new alderman.
Walls, a west side attorney and former adjunct professor at Triton Community College, will face seven other candidates, including incumbent Ald. Deborah Graham, for the 29th ward Alderman seat in the Feb. 24, 2015 election.
During a press conference Friday, Jan. 16, at his campaign headquarters in Austin, Walls said he is concerned about the culture of mistrust between police officers and community residents.
“We all know that being a law enforcement officer is one of the most difficult jobs in the world, but law enforcement must act in a fair and just manner,” Walls said during the press conference. “We can work to substantially decrease crime with cooperation between law enforcement and the community,” he said.
The attorney insisted that, if elected, he will press hard for a seat on the Police and Fire Committee to learn how police officers are being trained and find what training elements are missing or need improvement.
Walls also said he will push for beat officers to attend Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) meetings, so they can become familiar with community residents.
“I want to make sure community officers have strong ties in CAPS meetings and make sure they get put in leadership positions,” Walls said after the press conference.
He referenced a Chicago Tribune article, which stated that the city will take on between $90 million to $100 million in debt to pay off legal settlements made last year, most of which were made in connection with police misconduct cases.
“This hard-earned taxpayer money could be used to improve our streets, sidewalks and community schools,” Walls said.
Walls is also a strong advocate for economic development and said bringing more economic development to Austin would deter crime.
“You won’t see people standing on the corner because the people have a stake in the community,” Walls said. “If we improve business, there will be less crime because people will be more willing to report the crimes.”
The candidate said Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funds should be used to lure big named stores, such as Jewel-Osco and Mariano’s, to the community.
“We have no major food chains in the Austin community,” Walls said.
Walls has lived, and been actively involved, on the West Side for nearly 38 years.
The Austin resident earned a political science degree from the University of San Diego and is a graduate of John Marshall Law School in downtown Chicago.